The role of Chittagong Port to support MSR in providing maritime transport facilities through intermodal freight transportation system in Asia
Among the seaports in the Bay of Bengal, Chittagong Port is in a lucrative position to cover the maximum spatial transportation in Asia. The China-proposed Maritime Silk Road (MSR), under the banner of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), has probably overlooked Chittagong Port as a maritime load centre in the South Asian region due to geopolitical issues. The recent performance of Chittagong Port in terms of container throughput and consideration of the hinterland potentiality by the MSR means that Chittagong Port is visualized attractively as a load centre or connector in the region. An intermodal freight transportation system brought a new dimension to the port regionalization. In particular, Chittagong Port’s geographical position and performance are 2 important indicators in serving the intermodal system to the region in timely and economical fashion. The main objective of port development in Bangladesh is to act as a maritime load centre of the MSR and to offer port services, not only to Bangladesh, but also to provide maritime transport facilities, as well as seaport access, to the landlocked countries of Nepal and Bhutan, the naturally landlocked part of India, the southwest part of China, and the neighboring country of Myanmar for regional development. In addition to the literature review, this research uses a qualitative research method with the combination of primary and secondary data collected from the field. Moreover, one network model is designed considering how Chittagong Port will provide hinterland services to the region and implement the dictums of the MSR and the BRI. Overall, this paper aims to investigate the potentiality of Chittagong Port to serve as a regional maritime load centre of the MSR to develop an integrated intermodal freight transportation system in Asia.
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